We spent the afternoon exploring the Colonial Avenue/Tamiami Ave (Rt.41) area. This is America, so that inevitably meant malls, plazas, shopping centres…
Not just any Target, a Super Target…
Target (or as it is referred to in certain circles; Targé) was our main aim… pun not intended as it happens. For me, it helped that the same plaza contained a large Barnes and Noble. I did want Target first, however, as I’m in the market for footwear suitable for shorts wearing. As it happens, I failed to find anything in the price bracket I had in mind (cheap) so it may be that sight of my legs is denied to the good people of Florida this week.
So I adjourned to Barnes & Noble and had a good mooch around. It was striking that when I browsed in the segregated music & DVD department, I was the only person in there (note I didn’t say customer). The only other occupant was an assistant who failed to even acknowledge my presence. That was the least of their problems, however. The pricing of pretty much everything on the shelves was completely unrealistic. Forget, for a second, bit torrents and their like (if only Barnes & Noble could), even a comparison with Target or the near-by Best Buy means B&N have no chance of making a realistic or sustainable level of sales. Then of course there is Amazon or even Netflix. I fear it may not be long before B&N head the same way as Borders….?
The rest of the store had a reasonable amount of footfall, though it was equally as striking how many people were reading the stock (without paying, of course) in the coffee shop or at the many tables generously provided for the purpose. The knight in shinning armour for B&N is the Nook e-reader. I was amused to overhead a sales assistant demonstrating the device to a senior couple. I heard the phrase “this works better than anything else when you are using it on the beach” three times in less than a minute.
I did my bit for their profit margin by buying three magazines along with a coffee & a muffin.
We regrouped and relocated a mile or so back down the road to Best Buy. The breadth of choice in the gadget field these days is breath-taking, and this branch, at least, demonstrated it well. There was an in-store Windows shop, an in-store Samsung shop and an in-store Apple shop. All (spookily) have wooden floors and matching wood tables on which the products are displayed. The Windows store was about four times the size of the Apple store. The number of customers using the Apple devices on display was, well, about four times as many: There were four people in the Apple bit, one in the Windows bit (me, trying the keyboard on the Surface).
The breadth of inventory in Best Buy was exemplified by two products: I noted that they still sell Compact Flash ($49 for 16Gb – if you need that for your camera, it is surely time to buy a new camera?) and — by far the highlight — Nick spotted a AM/FM portable radio with cassette portable player (i.e. a Walkman knock-off) for $34!
After Best Buy I had a very quick look in Marshall’s for footwear (passing on the opportunity to buy some Tommy Hilfiger sandals for $16 – it would have been my first and only Tommy Hilfiger purchase!).
Back to the hotel and after a brief pause, it was time for dinner. We adjourned next door to an extremely busy Fort Myers Ale House. We put our name down for a table (actually I used Kay’s name, I figured there would already be several Daves and/or Nicks waiting!) and were told the wait would be 25 minutes. Our eyes told us that was a hopelessly optimistic estimate, and when we were proved correct it really wasn’t a problem. We adjourned to the bar to wait. There are two bars, one being in the “conservatory” which was for all intents and purposes identical to the rest of the building except that the windows had no glass in them. We found a space at that particular bar then realised the significant of the lack of windows – it means smoking is allowed. This was an unwelcome flash-back to the dark ages and we didn’t linger there for long. Each to their own and all….
During the course of the evening, Nick tried the full range: Coors Lite, Miller Lite and Bud Lite. I had Breckenbridge Vanilla Porter, Shipyard Black IPA and Long Hammer IPA (I’d asked for Goose Island Honkers, but never mind!). After the wait for the table, the food came very quickly. We both had New York Strip preceded by a salad (tossed for Nick, Caesar for me!). Delicious. We both about fell off our seats in response to the girl who delivered our salads. Asking if we needed anything else, when we answered No Thanks, the response was “Looking Good Awwwwsome Enjoy”.
The initial hiccup with the smoking area aside, I have to say this was pretty close to my perfect US evening experience: craft beer, good company, great food, sports on the tv (we watched Team GB “win” silver in the Olympic curling – the longest I’d watched any winter Olympic coverage!). Fantastic.
Back to the room for blogging, a little more beer (continuing through the six pack of Sam Adams Cold Snap) and television; a double* bill of “Blue Bloods” (a fairly formulaic cop show starring Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg). Early start in the morning to get to Jet Blue Park in time for the main squad practice followed by the Open House.
* – typed too soon; it’s a triple bill (last two episodes of season three and a repeat of the opener of the current season four – so IMDB tells me)
“Looking Good Awwwwsome Enjoy”